American football goes as far back as the 19th century and actually originates from English rugby. Before rugby was actually an official sport within England, it did not consist of official rules or guidelines that determined it from soccer or made it a sporting discipline within itself. The sport was played quite messily with guidelines, styles and rules all changing from village to village and town to town. Eventually when people took the time to formulate an official standpoint and practise of the sport, it was found that two different sports had actually been played together – rugby and football.
Once football emerged as a sport within its own right, it became popular during the 1800s and spread right out across Europe and eventually landed in America. Here, it became extremely popular and a very common practise. However, it was not until third level educational institutions like colleges and universities incorporated it into their courses and routines that it truly became a sporting phenomenon. By the latter half of the 1800s, several colleges had combined their teams to form the very first college-play rules and guidelines.
By the 1900s athletic clubs and leagues began to form teams and so football in America was no longer specific to colleges and universities. Good players began to be offered incentives to remain with particular clubs or societies and thus payments and contracts became the norm. In 1920 several teams had joined together to create the American Football Association. Then, in 1922 after Jim Thorpe drew more and more fans to the sport due to his fame and status, the National Football League (NFL) was officially formed. Since then, the game has become incredibly popular and has incurred increasing financial investments and sponsorships. It is now one of the most common and popular of American sports.
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